Introduction to Laser Ranging, Profiling, and Scanning
This chapter lays down the basics needed for this book. Starting with a brief history on the development of topographic Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, this chapter first presents an overview on its various applications from terrestrial, airborne, and spaceborne platforms. Basic principles of laser ranging, profiling, and scanning are then described, along with the fundamental physics of laser technology. Furthermore, this chapter elaborates three typical range measuring methods: (1) timed pulse method, (2) phase comparison method, and (3) heterodyne method. Other topics related to laser ranging, including power, reflectivity, safety, hazard, and bean divergence are also addressed.